The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration this week awarded a $1.4 million grant to Puerto Rico under the State and Local Implementation Grant Program to help in planning for the island’s First Responder Network Authority, known as FirstNet.
Puerto Rico’s Interoperable Communications Committee will add $358,160 million to that, representing a required matching contribution of at least 20 percent of the award, to push the total of money available to close to $1.8 million, the federal agency said. The project is being developed under the local government’s Office of Public Security Affairs, represented by its Executive Director Miguel Ríos-Torres.
“Puerto Rico will leverage its existing governance body, the Puerto Rico Interoperable Communications Committee, and the recently established Puerto Rico Public Safety Broadband Network Committee, to implement its award,” the NTIA said.
“The Commonwealth intends to use the funds to update its Statewide Communication Interoperability Plan to include goals and initiatives related to public safety broadband,” the agency further noted.
The Puerto Rico Interoperable Communications Committee and the Puerto Rico Public Safety Broadband Network Committee will be the primary advocates of this project, responsible for education and outreach efforts.
The State and Local Implementation Grant Program is a $118.1 million formula-based, matching grant program administered by the NTIA designed to assist regional, state, local, and tribal government entities as they plan for a nationwide public safety broadband network.
Grants will support planning, consultation, education and outreach activities, as well as fund efforts to collect data on existing infrastructure and equipment that could be used by FirstNet in building a wireless public safety broadband network.
Along with Puerto Rico, other jurisdictions that also received funding are: Guam ($529,300), Massachusetts ($2.1 million), Minnesota ($2.3 million), North Dakota ($1.1 million), South Carolina ($1.8 million), Texas ($5.8 million), Virginia ($2.7million) and Washington ($2.6 million).
Additional grants will be awarded on a rolling basis, the NTIA said.